Friday, May 25, 2007

Part 1: Starting Out on My Own

So I had a request to tell my "starting out story" in my blog, so here it is! Its probably going to be realllly long, b/c I can get wordy and love details!

Its hard to know where to start so if I sort of jump in right in the middle, I'll go back and give details and it'll be like a fun ride!

I graduated w/ a degree in Jewelry and Metalworking but after graduation cont'd to work at the coffee shop I had been at during school. I kind of got stuck working there for awhile, like 2.5 years after I graduated! When I work at something, I take it very seriously and really give it my all. I enjoyed aspects of it, but it drained me of pretty much all creative energy. When I was in school and working 20-35 hours a week, my creativity was great b/c I was amidst other artists and constantly being push and inspired. After I graduated, not so much.

I knew that what I wanted to do was make jewelry/metal art for a living. I didn't want to work for someone else. I really didn't know how to go about it and for awhile nothing really happened. I finally (two years after I graduated) got my business license. But still, not a lot happened.

Here's where the story really starts:

I was having a conversation w/ my mom about work and I don't remember all what else, but what it came down to was that I was afraid to try to make. I was afraid I wouldn't make it, and if i didn't so what, I could get another job. So I decided to quit and turned my notice in w/in a couple of days. On the very day I turned it in, I sold a painting for $600! Still the most expensive thing I've sold, but it was super nice confirmation that I was doing the right thing.
Most of what I do is led by feelings. I have a pretty good intuition and try to listen to it.

So I quit my job on December 31st 2005. The first few months were really interesting. December had been pretty good and I'd gotten a few commissions that led in to January. February and March were like a barren desert... and April. I totally felt lost. This was all pre-Etsy. I still look back at that time and wonder what I was doing! I seriously don't know what I did all day. I was moving at a really slow pace and just had no idea. I'd quit my job w/o any actual plan. Not the smartest thing - this will be covered in the end section called, "Advice I'll give on what I WISH I had done" !

I'm very introspective and I like to analyze things. It took me a while to figure out but the thing w/ my personality is that I like to figure things out on my own, that way I really learn it how I need to. I didn't really seek much advice b/c I just had this feeling that I needed to figure out what would work for me, not just do what someone else told me I should do. Not necessarily the best thing either I'm sure some of you out there know what I'm talking about. Its kind of like, "just let me figure it out and even if I fall down and it hurts and I cry, I'll learn more than if you hold my hand the whole time" Of course that really difficult to remember in times when you're crying.

I'd finally put it together that I needed some sort of competition. When I was in school, I always have classmates next to me that were creating things - either that I liked or didn't like, that I thought weren't good at all or that I thought were fabulous. It helps me to be even more creative, to push myself to do something better and more unique. I don't like looking at other artists and doing research. If I don't have any sense of that person, it doesn't trigger anything in me. So what I had to do was be in some sort of competition w/ myself.

I made an assignment for myself to make 10 pairs of earrings a day for 10 days. I thought in the beginning that I'd end up duplicating some - but I never did. The more I got in to it, the more creative I got. And I was only using circles - all different size jump rings, hammered or not hammered. There were definitely days that I wouldn't feel like doing all 10. I'd have done 8 and thought, I can just do 12 tomorrow. But I'd have felt guilty, like I let myself down. So each day I did my 10. By the end I was really excited that I had actually achieved my goal. It felt really good to have accomplished all of that, and to have 100 pairs of earrings! I decided to have a show of all the earrings together and it ended up being really successful. I knew a girl that worked at the Athens newspaper and she had told me (two years earlier) that when I had a show to let her know and she would do a story on me. And it was finally here! I just hoped the offer was still good and it was, so it all worked out really well. Shortly after the show is when I signed up on Etsy.

More to come in Part 2!!

1 comment:

beautifulbrushstroke said...

Great story! I can't wait to read the rest! Very inspiring!